UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After a difficult semester as a first-year student at Penn State in the fall of 2012, Renee Frohnert almost gave up on electrical engineering. Fortunately, she persevered, and ultimately thrived, graduating with a high grade-point average and excellent job offers. Frohnert’s latest accolade is the 2019 Penn State EECS Early Career Alumni Award, which is presented by the Penn State School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Society.
The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor an outstanding alumnus or alumna at the outset of his or her career in electrical engineering, computer science or computer engineering.
"As a second-generation Penn State electrical engineer, I am thrilled and privileged to accept the 2019 Penn State EECS Early Career Alumni Award for Electrical Engineering,” Frohnert said. “The Penn State electrical engineering faculty enhanced my confidence by teaching me to adapt and become resilient in a challenging learning environment. I leveraged these skills as an upcoming leader of Lockheed Martin Space to deliver the most advanced Radio Frequency (RF) products to NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense.”
Frohnert pursued a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Penn State in 2012. After her challenging first semester, Frohnert found support from her faculty, the Penn State Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Penn State Powerlifting Team. By the next semester, her grades had drastically improved. She went on to become a USA Powerlifting All-American Collegiate Athlete by placing third at nationals while maintaining high academic performance.
Frohnert graduated with her bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 2016 and accepted her first full-time role as an electronics engineer at Lockheed Martin Space. Within three months of joining the company, she was recognized by a vice president for leading antenna testing for a mission critical U.S. Air Force project. In 2017, she was nominated by two vice presidents to become one of only 15 participants in Lockheed Martin’s highly selective and rigorous Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP).
In ELDP, she has held multiple RF & electrical engineering positions supporting U.S. government projects for NASA, the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. In her current role, she is the youngest project manager in her line of business at Lockheed Martin Space, leading 30 cross-functional engineers.
Since her acceptance into the ELDP program, Frohnert pursued her master’s degree full time at Cornell University in systems engineering. Frohnert is a huge promoter and advocate for women, minorities and veterans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Due to her passion for diversity and inclusion, she was elected to be one of only four individuals to serve on Lockheed Martin Space's Women's Impact Network Leadership Board and Lockheed Martin Space’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. As an advocate for diversity in STEM, she created a social media platform @SpaceWomanTV on Instagram, where she has more than 16,000 followers that can see her success as a woman engineer designing spacecrafts for Mars.
Frohnert said she loves public speaking, and has traveled to many events to share her story, including Google International Women's Day, Cornell University Commencement, Purdue University SWE and NASA Kennedy Space Center. She was recently awarded the Extraordinary Engineering & Technology Award by Lockheed Martin Space for becoming the leading external spokesperson promoting diversity in STEM. In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Frohnert's volunteer service for her more than 500 volunteer hours dedicated to the Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, Veterans Re-Entry Training programs.